In 1989 I was introduced to a Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Although it was a silly and fanciful jaunt through history featuring the likes of a young Keanu Reeves and a pre-Morpheus style George Carlin, and a saintly Jane Wiedlin, I noticed one thing about the film that has stayed with me for the past 17 years: Be excellent to each other.
Over the past week there has been a lot of news - both personal and global - that has bored into my psyche and makes me mentally squeeze my teddy bear.
Since I am working in schools with my new job, I am particularly sensitive to the assault on one of the teachers at Kipp Bridge and the school shootings that have occured over the last week - 3 in the U.S. and I read an account of one in Montreal. In addition, Oakland, CA has experienced over 100 murders this year.
I am confused and hurt and puzzled by this.
Grant it, with all of the life and creativity and industry that happens on this planet, it seems a little sensational to focus on a few school shootings, but I see them as a bubbling up of the violence we are regularly exposed to.
In the past 4 years I have worked with 13 - 21 year olds who know gunshots better than they know fireworks, who have seen friends and family beat by other family members. The language of violence is on their lips. They are fluent in it when they need to be.
Again my naivete shines through. I ask what is the origin of consciously planning a massacre or making an impulsive judgement that someone's life is worth taking over an argument or to prove a point.
My rage has never reached such a point. My sadness has never reached such a point, so I won't even pretend to understand.
I would like to express my shock and sorrow to the families who have lost their family members to this mindless violence. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
I would also like to address the men who have perpetrated this terrorism: I wish your soul to be at peace and that you have the opportunity post-humously to meet your victims and come to a place of forgiveness and understanding.
Candles are lit in my home, as they have been over the last week. They will continue to burn for Us.
May peace and joy be with us and may we share it with those around us.
Be excellent to each other.